The Vanishing Act of Second Sanskrit Commission

Sanskrit, India’s ancient language in which the Vedas and the Upanishads were written, has fallen prey to the UPA’s minority politics this election year.

Published: 13th January 2014 09:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2014 09:12 AM   |  A+A-

Sanskrit, India’s ancient language in which the Vedas and the Upanishads were written, has fallen prey to the UPA’s minority politics this election year.

The appointment of a Second Sanskrit Commission, nearly 58 years after the first one was set up in 1956 by the first Nehru government, may have been the Congress-led UPA government’s half-hearted bid to ward off the minority appeasement tag attached to it. But in an unprecedented move, the circular was withdrawn within a week of its release, without offering any explanation. It has also been deleted from the ministry website. Even the members of the commission are clueless about the vanishing act.

The HRD Ministry had on December 23, 2013 issued a circular, announcing the creation of the Second Sanskrit Commission, with  Satyavrat Shastri, Jnanpith award winner and Padma Bhushan awardee, as chairman. The 13-member committee was given one year tenure and asked to submit its report by the end of 2014.

“We were told about the formation of the commission. But we came to know that the  circular has been withdrawn only when another Sanskrit scholar called me up to say that it was no longer there in the ministry website,” a commission member told Express.

The HRD Ministry, when contacted, offered no comments. “There has been some error with regard to the circular and it will be corrected soon,” said  other tight-lipped officials. The ‘error’, according to unofficial revelations, varies from quarter to quarter.

One version is that the HRD Ministry did not include a Sanskrit scholar from Panjab University in Chandigarh, the alma mater of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the commission and that the circular was withdrawn after the ministry was pulled up for this ‘error of judgment’.

Another story doing the rounds is that HRD  Minister Pallam Raju developed a cold feet after taking the decision, as he was told that creation of a Sanskrit Commission in an election year would be dubbed as a move to appease the majority community.

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